Liberian President Cuts Salary by 40%


Liberia President Joseph Boakai has announced a 40% salary cut.

His office said he hoped to set a precedent for “responsible governance” and show “solidarity” with Liberians.

Government salaries have come under scrutiny in recent times as Liberians complain about the rising cost of living. Around one in five people live on less than $2 (£1.70) a day in the West African state.

Mr Boakai revealed in February that his annual salary was $13,400. The cut brings it down to $8,000.

Mr Boakai’s move is an echo of that of his predecessor, George Weahwho had to give up 25% of his salary.

Some people in the West African country are cheering Boakai’s decision, but others question whether it really is a sacrifice, given that he also receives benefits such as a daily allowance and medical coverage.

The presidential office’s budget this year is nearly $3 million.

Anderson D Miamen of the nonprofit Center of Transparency and Accountability in Liberia said the president’s pay cut is “welcome.”

“We just hope that the public will see clearly where the deductions are going and how they will be used to have a positive impact on people’s lives,” he told the BBC.

W Lawrence Yealue II, whose organization also campaigns for government transparency, called the president’s decision “very commendable” and said “leadership must come from the top.”

He added that he hopes that Mr Boakai’s benefits will be reviewed in the budget for the next financial year.

In addition to cutting his salary, Mr Boakai has pledged to empower Liberia’s civil service so that civil servants are “fairly compensated for their contributions to the country”.

Last week, a group of lawmakers complained that they had not received the official cars they needed to carry out their duties.

In protest, they came to parliament in tuk-tuks, known locally as keh keh, a common mode of transportation for ordinary Liberians.

Mr Boakai took office in January after defeating Mr Weah in a runoff election.

He promised to tackle corruption and financial mismanagement during his presidency.

In addition to declaring his assets since taking office, Mr. Boakai has ordered an audit of the presidential office, the results of which have not yet been made public.

Mr. Boakai also strengthened the General Audit Commission and the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Weah’s government has been plagued by allegations of corruption and excessive spending, leading to mass protests as the cost of living for ordinary people spiralled.

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